moderated Replies to moderated topics which end up starting new topics still get moderated #bug


 

Hi Mark,

This may be an unintended behavior Reply-Rules bug, but this is what's happening:

1. Group setting (and membership) is set to unmoderated.
2. A particular topic (TopicOLD) is manually set to moderated by the mod.
3. A user pulls the old "too lazy to create a new topic" switcheroo and they click on Reply to one of those (now moderated) TopicOLD messages, either through email or online, changes the subject to a new one, adds the text, and sends it as a "new" to them topic, but which as we know now contains the In-Reply-To: entry referencing a message which now points to a moderated topic.
4. When the message is parsed, the new-topic subject rules are applied but it seems the in-reply-to rules are also applied.
5. This causes the message to correctly create a new topic (TopicNEW) which technically should not be moderated as it's a new topic, but the message still ends up in the pending queue.

Cheers,
Christos

PS: The above is the "consistent" problem/bug behavior.  It then got a bit weird while testing but it seems it's some sort of Thunderbird-specific behavior, I don't know, but I included it here just in case.  I may retest this part with a different Tbird version later on.

6. As expected, after I approved the pending TopicNEW topic starter it got created as a new topic, not moderated.
7. If I reply to that 1st TopicNEW message through Tbird (without changing anything) the reply still goes into moderation, consistently for all the times I tried replying to that 1st message.
8. If I reply through Gmail or online to that 1st TopicNEW message, no problems.
9. If I reply to any other message but the 1st from TopicNEW through Tbird, no problems.


Andy Wedge
 

On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 12:30 AM, Christos Psarras wrote:
This may be an unintended behavior Reply-Rules bug, but this is what's happening:
The first item listed in the documentation for the threading algorithm has two conditions, the reply-to field and the subject. If the subject is changed then this first test cannot be met so then we are into checking where the message came from (online or email) and then checking matching subject and dates.  So, it seems that any change of subject on a message posted by email will start a new topic.

Andy


 

Andy,

So, it seems that any change of subject on a message posted by email will start a new topic.
I think you misunderstood what the issue is.  The new topic creation part works fine and as expected, since the subject was changed. (to a unique one)

Assuming the code order of evaluation in the threading algorithm is as described in the doc:

1a. The reply rules check is (correctly) performed because the message headers contain the In-Reply-To entry and it references an existing previous topic (which happened to be moderated in this case) ...
1b. .. and the subject check is then performed but since it's different, the algorithm now correctly creates a new topic.

2. However, the code also inadvertently inherits/applies the moderated property of the aforementioned referenced previous topic ID; or alternatively it doesn't reset/clear the mod property for the new topic, which is the bug, it causes a brand new topic to inherit the moderated property of a previous topic when there shouldn't be any association to the old topic since it's a new topic.  (not sure if it also inherits anything else besides the moderated property)

It's one of those bugs that will only show under certain circumstances, under normal conditions in an unmoderated group if nothing gets moderated no one will know.  It only showed up because I specifically moderated a topic to (gently) end discussion on it (without locking it) and someone used a message from that thread but also changed the subject so they can create a new topic, causing the new topic to be moderated.  If I hadn't moderated that previous topic I'd have no clue this is happening.

Cheers,
Christos


Bruce Bowman
 

On Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 07:30 PM, Christos Psarras wrote:
4. When the message is parsed, the new-topic subject rules are applied but it seems the in-reply-to rules are also applied.
5. This causes the message to correctly create a new topic (TopicNEW) which technically should not be moderated as it's a new topic, but the message still ends up in the pending queue.
Christos -- Interesting.

I don't know if it's intentional or not, but I do like the existing behavior. If I set up a topic to be moderated, I don't want people to be able to circumvent that setting simply by changing the subject line. Holding it in moderation also gives me an opportunity to change it back, if that seems like the appropriate thing to do.

If that means I occasionally have to moderate a message that doesn't really need it, so be it (the fact that they'll end up waiting for their post to appear is a bonus).

Regards,
Bruce


 

On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 03:31 PM, Christos Psarras wrote:
(not sure if it also inherits anything else besides the moderated property)
BTW just tested this part for all the other properties visible & available to me (Locked, Sticky, ReplyTo) and those do not get inherited in the new topic.

Cheers,
Christos


 

Bruce,

>>> If I set up a topic to be moderated, I don't want people to be able to circumvent that setting simply by changing the subject line.


I can see some value in it behaving this way for your scenario, if the "new topic" is really a masqueraded reply to the moderated topic with just a different subject.  On the other hand though, what's to stop the offender from just creating a brand new topic in this case?  I mean, in an unmoderated group, a perpetrator trying to pull this off on purpose online, will see the green "message to be approved by the mods" notice and can easily just create a new topic then which will sail through.  Yes, not as obvious to the email users though, but then again, since one knows their group is not moderated, after they see their message not coming through normally as expected, they may resubmit it as a new topic this time, which will now go through.

>>> Holding it in moderation also gives me an opportunity to change it back, if that seems like the appropriate thing to do

Yes, if its' related to the previous moderated topic, but what if it doesn't and it's genuinely a new unrelated topic?

I don't know, if this is by design as a hidden and undocumented easter-egg, maybe the answer is not to change the logic but instead enhance a couple of things to make it obvious to the mods that's what happened.  For example, when this happens modify the pending message so the subject becomes something like this: (obviously only if the previous topic was moderated of course)

new-topic-subject [WAS: old-topic-subject]

This would make it clearer and also make the job of editing it back to the previous subject easier.

Or enhance the Activity log entry.  Right now the entry looks like the regular one:

XYZ sent message "new-topic-subject" requiring approval because the topic is moderated, via email

which is misleading because this (new) topic is not really/shouldn't be moderated since the group is not moderated.  Maybe leave the subject as is in the pending message but indicate it here:

XYZ sent message "new-topic-subject [WAS: old-topic-subject]" requiring approval because the topic is moderated, via email


Cheers,
Christos


 

This is a worse situation than it seems. My group is set to MF, which means, the first message of every new topic is moderated. Here's what happens when a member changes the titla via email:

1. The message is moderated, but it's right answer, wrong reason: it should be moderated (at least, in my group, because the first message of every new topic is moderated). Yet the log says "because the topic is moderated."

2. HOWEVER: the log just says that. The new topic is actually NOT moderated. There's no moderation icon, etc.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


 

On Wed, Sep 22, 2021 at 2:27 PM J_Catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:
This is a worse situation than it seems. My group is set to MF, which means, the first message of every new topic is moderated. Here's what happens when a member changes the titla via email:

1. The message is moderated, but it's right answer, wrong reason: it should be moderated (at least, in my group, because the first message of every new topic is moderated). Yet the log says "because the topic is moderated."

2. HOWEVER: the log just says that. The new topic is actually NOT moderated. There's no moderation icon, etc.

J, please send me the details off-list: email address of the person who changed the subject line, name of group, when this happened, and I'll investigate.

Thanks,
Mark 


 

Thanks, done.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


 

Hi Christos,

On Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 4:30 PM Christos Psarras <christos@...> wrote:

This may be an unintended behavior Reply-Rules bug, but this is what's happening:

1. Group setting (and membership) is set to unmoderated.
2. A particular topic (TopicOLD) is manually set to moderated by the mod.
3. A user pulls the old "too lazy to create a new topic" switcheroo and they click on Reply to one of those (now moderated) TopicOLD messages, either through email or online, changes the subject to a new one, adds the text, and sends it as a "new" to them topic, but which as we know now contains the In-Reply-To: entry referencing a message which now points to a moderated topic.
4. When the message is parsed, the new-topic subject rules are applied but it seems the in-reply-to rules are also applied.
5. This causes the message to correctly create a new topic (TopicNEW) which technically should not be moderated as it's a new topic, but the message still ends up in the pending queue.

Please send me the details off-list and I'll investigate: email address of the sender and the URL of the message in the archives. 

Thanks,
Mark


 

On Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 10:17 AM J_Catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:
Thanks, done.

Got it. Found the bug and it's been fixed.

Thanks,
Mark 


 

Hi Mark,

Please send me the details off-list and I'll investigate: email address of the sender and the URL of the message in the archives. 
Just saw your "bug found" message, I guess you don't need that info anymore, right?

Cheers,
Christos


 

On Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 11:04 AM Christos Psarras <christos@...> wrote:
Please send me the details off-list and I'll investigate: email address of the sender and the URL of the message in the archives. 
Just saw your "bug found" message, I guess you don't need that info anymore, right?

Your's may be a different bug. I'd still like to investigate.

Thanks,
Mark 


 

Mark,

When the dust settles on all of this, I'd be interested in knowing what was fixed/changed. Are retitled moderated topics no longer moderated (if they actually ever were, per this thread, rather than just being a possible log error, per my group's problem?) etc.

Thanks!
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


 

On Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 4:30 PM Christos Psarras <christos@...> wrote:

1. Group setting (and membership) is set to unmoderated.
2. A particular topic (TopicOLD) is manually set to moderated by the mod.
3. A user pulls the old "too lazy to create a new topic" switcheroo and they click on Reply to one of those (now moderated) TopicOLD messages, either through email or online, changes the subject to a new one, adds the text, and sends it as a "new" to them topic, but which as we know now contains the In-Reply-To: entry referencing a message which now points to a moderated topic.
4. When the message is parsed, the new-topic subject rules are applied but it seems the in-reply-to rules are also applied.
5. This causes the message to correctly create a new topic (TopicNEW) which technically should not be moderated as it's a new topic, but the message still ends up in the pending queue.

This should be fixed now.

Thanks,
Mark